Real Kindness

Real Kindness

Upcoming / ongoing:

Daylong: “Moving into Stillness”, Sunday, September 17 from 9:30 a.m.- 2 p.m. [MORE INFO]

Ten-Week Study & Practice Program: “The Ten Perfections: Bringing Qualities of Wisdom & Compassion to Life”, Mondays, September 18-November 20, 6-8 pm. Retreat on Saturday, November 18, 10:30 am – 5:30 pm. [MORE INFO]

Daylong: “The Four Heavenly Abodes: Opening the Heart-Mind.” Saturday, October 28, 2023 from 9:30 a.m.–4 p.m.. [MORE INFO]

Dear Friends,

I may not know my original face but I know how to smile.
I may not know the recipe for the diameter
of a circle but I know how to cut a slice
for a friend. I may not be Mary or Buddha
But I can be kind. I may not be a diamond
Cutter but I still long for rays of light
that reach the heart.
I may not be standing on the hill of skulls
But I know love when I see it.
~ Not Knowing, by Stephen Levine

What is real kindness? In our day and age, these words really translate as paying attention to the moment in a gentle, friendly, loving way. When we practice meditation and we take the time to bring a kind attention to the body — feeling tones (pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral), emotions, and our thoughts — that is an act of kindness.

The option is to live in oblivion, spacing out, neglecting, or ignoring ourselves, others, and all the animate and inanimate phenomena that inhabit our planet and life. This can leave us quite lonely, separate, in isolation, and disconnected. From this, a sense of great sadness and unhappiness can overtake our psyche and being.

So we pay attention on purpose to stay engaged experiencing the unfolding of each moment. This is where life is happening!

Real kindness is inclusive and embraces all parts of life. It does not choose to pay attention to what we like nor is it pleasant, and it does not deny what is difficult. It engages all facets of living and, out of this is able to be an antidote to negative mind states.

To aversion or ill will, it brings caring and softens our dislikes; to greed, it shows us what is fully present so we see that what we need is right here; to sleepiness, it brings energy so we feel safe being in the here and now; to restlessness and worry, it brings patience, acceptance, and generosity; to doubt, it shows us where we really are and that we can make wholesome intentions and choices.

We cultivate our values, contact our intentions, feel our motivations, and plant seeds for the fruition of actions to manifest for the benefit of all beings. Real kindness is free of an ulterior motive; it’s not dependent on what we get back in return. And it does not change when another’s behavior changes. It remains constant and does not play favorites. It is a cultivation of a deep and profound caring and consideration for all. We see the good in things and we contemplate good qualities.

I was so fortunate to spend the weekend of August 25-27 in Oregon at my oldest granddaughter Hannah’s wedding to Rayik. It was an occasion filled with love, energy, praise for the bride and groom, dancing, celebrating with amazing food and drink, and the space was outside in nature. This is a match of all who were there to share and enjoy. What I felt was real kindness between them all.

Please join me in my classes of “The Ten Perfections” at The Sol Center beginning Monday, September 18, 2023, at 6-8 p.m., and daylong practices at TCMC on Sunday, September 17 from 9:30 a.m.- 2 p.m. as we birth and practice, in an ongoing manner, these teaching of real kindness. They are part of all the Buddhist teachings.

Take good care, enjoy the continuing beauty of summer’s ending, and open your heart to others when you can.

Blessings,

Lhasha

The Four Heavenly Messengers and the Ten Perfections Introduction

The Four Heavenly Messengers and the Ten Perfections Introduction

Upcoming / ongoing:

Second Sunday Circle:  “An Introduction to the Buddha: The Four Heavenly Messengers”, August 13 from 2:00 to 3:45 p.m. [MORE INFO]

Ten-Week Study & Practice Program: “The Ten Perfections: Bringing Qualities of Wisdom & Compassion to Life”, Mondays, September 18 – November 20, 6 to 8 pm. Retreat on Saturday, November 18, 10:30 am – 5:30 pm. [MORE INFO]

Dear Friends,

I want to take some brief time to introduce you to the two new classes I am offering in August and September. The first of these classes informs us of the early remarkable life of Siddhartha Gautama (the future Buddha) and the fateful course he took in life to make him into a great spiritual leader. Siddhartha’s curiosity about life, the reasons for him being in the life he was in and the meaning and potential of fulfillment in life were the questions that motivated him to pursue the path he chose.

The Ten Perfections follow the early teachings of the Buddha in instructing all who followed him to know that these ten perfections were about perfecting your own Buddha nature. These ten qualities are inherent in each being and express the possibility of an awakened heart in each being. We can learn how to follow them in daily living and meditation through continual practice.

In loving friendliness,


Lhasha

The Four Heavenly Abodes: Opening the Heart-Mind Class Series

The Four Heavenly Abodes: Opening the Heart-Mind Class Series

Dear Friends,

There will be no blog this month. But we thought you might be interested in the class series I’m starting in the fall.

“Out of the soil of friendliness grows the beautiful bloom of Compassion watered by tears of joy and sheltered by the cool tree of equanimity.” 

~ 14th Century Tibetan Poet

Led by Lhasha Tizer, Community Dharma Leader and Mary Grace Naughton, Mindfulness and Yoga Teacher

There are four beautiful qualities of heart and mind for dwelling in the world. They can be cultivated through meditation and daily life practice, and are composed of Metta or loving friendliness, Karuna or compassion, Mudita or appreciative joy, and Upekkha or equanimity.  

We will study and explore each of these 4 Heavenly Abodes as a force in opening the heart so we can live with greater peace and contentment. You are welcome to attend one class or all four in the series. The first class will be Lovingkindness. Classes consist of meditation, dharma talks, yoga, discussion, Q&A, and small group inquiry.  

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Awareness, Thankfulness and the Monsoon

Awareness, Thankfulness and the Monsoon

Dear Friends,

We have had a remarkably wet winter and spring. As the warmest time of the year approaches in Tucson and temperatures have been rising, how do we mindfully approach both our dry and wet summer seasons? Have you been aware of your thoughts as this special time of year engenders the unique climate that manifests and the forces of nature that surround it? The uncanniness of having the driest month of the year next to the wettest several months can place a strain on many persons’ sense of comfort and ease. As so much of mindfulness informs us, it is our relationship to these conditions that make them either acceptable or aversive; we get to choose.

This monsoon season, when we usually get our most plentiful rainfall, is a gift of nature that transforms a normally dry, hot desert climate into a wet, green, cloud-show panorama, second only to the East Indian monsoon. The grandeur of this phenomenon and its ability to bring tremendous winds, flooding, and hail is unprecedented.

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The Path to Loving Ourselves: Dedicated to Cheri

The Path to Loving Ourselves: Dedicated to Cheri

This is the essence of metta (lovingkindness)…

Knowing and remembering that we all have special traits and qualities; appreciating this body and being for what it is; knowing that we are beings whose birthright is love, peace, kindness, and caring for ourselves. Metta is goodwill–a connection to life, ourselves, and others as they are.

If difficulties arise for us, rather than reacting automatically with self-judgment, blaming, and aversion, we can open to the beautiful beings that we are, with compassion. Remember what makes us feel alive, connected, and content moment by moment.

Can we bring this to our minds and hearts during the tasks of our day?

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Cultivating Patience

Dear Friends and Students,

“May I ever be patient

May I be able to bear and forbear the wrongs of others

May I ever be tolerant and see the good will in others.”

– Buddhist Meditative words for Patience

Patience is a quality that many of us find difficult to cultivate. In the post-modern world as technology increases, higher production levels demand more from us, timelines force us to speed up, and we feel a need to multitask,what can we do? Our ability to take our time and let processes unfold at a slower pace is something from bygone days. 

These conditions cause a negative uproar within us; we feel overwhelmed and our behaviors tend to lead to frustration, anger, worry, and doubt toward ourselves and others. We feel the pressure of ”get it done yesterday”. This places us in a state of mental, emotional, and often bodily suffering. These burdens in the long run make us less productive and content in our lives.

I remember several years ago I was asked to write a blog about “How to Live in Balance at Holiday Time”. My contact was a young woman who worked for a Spa magazine in New York City, whose behavior was frantic, restless, and panicked. She kept calling and emailing me asking when the writing would be complete. I told her I was working as quickly as possible on it. I felt sorry for her because she was so driven, did not recognize it in herself, and was in what the Pali language called “Dukkha” or un-satisfactoriness. This experience felt ironic because it was so at odds with the nature of the article I was writing about living in balance. This is actually called impatience. The influence of a patient being and action would have been the way to freedom in this place.

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Moving into Stillness: The Intrigue of Aging

Dear Friends and Students,

Ever since I was a little girl I was always interested in why I looked the way I did. I wondered how and why the inner being was interwoven with the outer.

As time passed this fascination morphed into a state of sound awareness wherein the dialogue in my mind seemed to speed up and speak aloud in a voice that was not my own. This experience was both intriguing and frightening. As I got older if I found myself in a room with a few people, their manifestation would get larger and their voices would get louder and louder.

These experiences were mysterious and lured me into questioning why was I here on earth, who I was, and in growing up, what was the nature of getting older.

I found I was both fearful of aging and yet very motivated to find answers to these phenomena. When I tried to speak to my mother about it, she said “Leslie, you think too much, ignore it”. This left me feeling flat with not too many options for these lifelong questions.

So in the simplest of ways I became a ‘seeker’ always on the lookout for someone or something that could direct me on a path to understanding. It was when I first was introduced to the bust of a Black Buddha resting high on the wall of my best friend Ilene’s living room that I perceived a being whose presence was ephemeral, with the soft slant of his eyes, the subtle smile of his lips, that I realized I had touched the depth of a being who had no end.

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Mindful Resolutions for 2023

Welcoming the Unwelcome: Wholehearted Living in a Brokenhearted World, by Pema Chodron. New Book Group (virtual and in-person) begins Monday, January 9, 2023, from 10:00-11:30 am. Contact The Mindfulness Path at info at themindfulnesspath.com for more info.

Mindful Resolutions for 2023

As I sit here this morning on the coldest day of the year so far in Tucson, I am reminded of the Winter Solstice and the darkening of the light. Many of the shades are closed in my home this morning and the door to the back room of our house is closed to keep the house warmer and reduce the cold air. In many ways this is a ritual that we do this time of year, acknowledging the deepest, darkest season of the year. We make sure we wear many layers of clothing and eat warming foods to maintain a regulated body temperature, strengthen our defenses, and stay well.

I am aware of the fact that this is the third winter of Covid-19. In addition, rising numbers of people are contracting the flu and are hospitalized with RSV. So many people want to forget that these illnesses are still with us. They want to be free of thinking about disease, and many act as if it did not exist. We can see this in the decline in wearing masks and the fewer numbers of persons receiving Covid-19 boosters. Ironically this trio of illnesses accompanies this time of hibernation and among humans, the holiday season. Cold weather and indoor close quarters with people nearby are conditions we have to live with.

Mindful awareness invites us to approach this living situation with acceptance. We can be overcome with Aversion, also known as hatred, and one of the Three Poisons the Buddha spoke about (which also include Greed and Delusion), that entangle our emotions and incline us toward dislike and pushing away life’s conditions. The interesting thing about these “Poisons” is that we get entangled in irritation, frustration, and anger. 

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The Season of Friendship

Welcoming the Unwelcome: Wholehearted Living in a Brokenhearted World, by Pema Chodron. New Book Group (virtual and in-person) begins Monday, January 9, 2023, from 10:00-11:30 am. Contact The Mindfulness Path at info at themindfulnesspath.com for more info.

The Season of Friendship

As we approach the deepest, darkest, most holy time of year we are invited to reflect on its personal meaning for us. It is time to pause and sense the true gravity of the season: all mammals in cold climates stop to hibernate, go inward, rest, eat their stored food and renew themselves. The pace of life in the natural world slows down. Now we can explore our inner realms and find the link to making friends with ourselves; eventually when we advance from winter and emerge into spring this newly formed friendship can be brought out to share with others.

Mitta Sutta

Monks, a friend endowed with seven qualities is worth associating with.

Which seven?

They give what is hard to give.

They do what is hard to do.

They endure what is hard to endure.

They reveal their secrets to you.

They keep your secrets.

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Wabi-Sabi

Wabi-Sabi

There is a famous Japanese tea story of a monk, who after he spent several hours preparing the tearoom and tea garden for the newly expected guests with meticulous cleansing, purifying, and refining, went out into the garden. Here he swept and made the stone paths free of debris. Then he stood still and surveyed his wondrous garden space. After he took it all in, he took hold of one tree and shook it until the leaves scattered on the ground. Then he took a deep breath and said “Now it is ready”. This perfect imperfection is the essence of wabi-sabi and of the practice of letting go.

Today wabi-sabi is known in the West as a contemporary tool and it has even become a trendy style for interior design. But originally, it drew on Chinese Taoism and Confucianism and was a radical response to the materialism of the elites.

The Japanese war lords and wealthy merchants of the 15th and 16th centuries loved ornate Chinese inspired tea ceremonies. Fancy designed pottery was sought after for the prestige of its Chinese originators. This changed when Murata Shuko, a Zen monk, intentionally opposed the materialism of the ornate tea ceremony by choosing to use local, understated, and worn or cracked utensils in his ceremonies. 

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